Online interviews kick off 2013 WCC basketball; Oct. 24 event new feature on The network

By Davis Jones

The West Coast Conference basketball season is set to begin in less than two weeks. While it may be difficult to hear predictions from every team before games start, the league’s newest project gives fans the chance to travel up and down the coast in one afternoon.

On Oct. 24,, the conference’s online home for all Division-I sports, will host a live streaming chat at 10:30 a.m. for all 10 league teams. Each program features its coach and one star player in 10-minute interview segments. Those with questions for their school’s duo can post them onto the WCC Facebook page or on its Twitter feed using the hashtag #WCChoops. Online moderators will select specific questions that will then be streamed live for players, coaches and fans across the country.

In addition to the live studio interviews will be Google Plus Hangout sessions with WCC basketball student-athletes. Fans can submit questions and comments with the hashtag #AskWCChoops. The talk show ‘WCC Live’ returns at 11:00 a.m. for its weekly internet time slot, as each paired coach and players will join host Jeff Lampe for a special edition program. USD men’s basketball coach Bill Grier and junior guard Johnny Dee will be available for their online interview starting at 10:45 a.m. Women’s coach Cindy Fisher and senior guard Amy Kame are also available for interviewing at the same time.

“My initial thoughts are wondering how the network is going to hold up,” sophomore Miles Parnegg said when asked about the revamping of the network. “Will there be a large enough national audience? It will be there for the fan bases in places like here and Gonzaga. I think that’s a small set, though. I think it’s great that we finally have a network like this, but the real test will be whether or not it will see success three or four years from now.”

This multiplatform approach from the WCC will bring even more sports content compared to the channel’s beta launch last season. Led by Campus Insiders, a digital content syndication source for college sports, will air more than 125 live broadcasts of conference sports and original video content via television, internet, mobile connection, tablets, and connected televisions. All will appear at no costs to viewers. WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaininovich praised the network’s accessibility when her committee announced the official launch in a public statement in early September.

“Whether you’re near your television, computer, mobile device, or tablet, live or on-demand, West Coast Conference action is never more than a click away,” Zaininovich said. “With, we are striving to bring the games and highlights to our fans – wherever they might be.”

All sports-related content within the conference will run on smaller but supported platforms. Official WCC smartphone apps, tablet apps and other online syndications compose a larger media collaboration that looks to serve its tagline to provide its fans, ‘All the action. Anytime. Anywhere.’

Much of the website’s new strategy will begin with the 2013-2014 basketball season. More than 40 games will air as out-of-market regional telecasts, reaching an estimated total of 20 million homes throughout the West Coast. Up to 58 games will be available on for viewers around the world.

In the past, fans hoping to catch a nationally-televised broadcast had to bank on one of the four major ESPN networks following a game with national ranking implications. While every game this season will be available in some capacity, twenty two men’s basketball games are set for either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Nine of them are with the Gonzaga University Bulldogs, who enter the season ranked No. 14 by the USA Today preseason ballot. The team went 32-3 last year and return two starters plus nine letterwinners from a roster that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. USD will play Gonzaga in a trip to Spokane on Jan. 23 and in San Diego on Feb. 22. Fans can watch the away game on ESPNU and the home contest on ESPN2.

WCC regional television partners will work alongside Campus Insiders to shoot all basketball games in high definition footage during the season. Releasing conference content out of its Chicago studios, the network ended its first year with the addition of Amanda Blackwell, the conference’s official full-time sports media reporter. This year introduces daily programming from Seth Davis, a CBS college basketball analyst, and Bonnie Bernstein, a sports journalist who also works as vice president of Content and Brand Development for Campus Insiders.

The USD men’s team opens its non-conference season against the California State University Monterey Bay Otters on Oct. 26. The women’s team will play the Northern Colorado University Bears for its first game on Nov. 9.